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Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as a form of “psychotherapy that combines cognitive therapy with behavior therapy by identifying faulty or maladaptive patterns of thinking, emotional response, or behavior and substituting them with desirable patterns of thinking, emotional response, or behavior.” CBT is founded on several core principles, including the following, provided by American Psychological Association (APA):

  • Psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.
  • Psychological problems are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.
  • People suffering from psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives.

CBT aims to help people break unhealthy behavioral patterns by identifying and replacing dysfunctional patterns with positive thinking patterns. It focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and developing personal coping strategies to problem solve effectively. Honing these skills can have both a direct and an indirect impact on one’s interpersonal relationships. 

The Role of Relationships 

Research has long shown the benefits of social connection on mental health and emotional wellbeing. People that maintain social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network. Adults with strong social connections have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, such as depression, high blood pressure, and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Further, studies have found that older adults who have meaningful relationships and social support are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections. Nevertheless, interpersonal problems, which can be explained as difficulties that involve other people, their reactions, and/ or an individual’s ways of relating to other people, are not uncommon. 

CBT Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

In CBT, conceptualizing relationship and interpersonal problems helps inform and guide the therapeutic process. To relieve client distress and build client resilience the therapist and client work collaboratively first to describe and then to explain the issues a client presents in therapy. Interpersonal effectiveness skills are integral to the CBT process as they facilitate building a sense of mastery and boosting self-respect. These skills help an individual learn to cultivate, engage, and maintain healthy relationships through advocating for one’s needs and communicating in way that is non-damaging, assertive, maintains self-respect, and strengthens relationships. 

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

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